Evidence for abnormal cholinergic neuromuscular transmission in diabetic rat small intestine

Thomas V. Nowak, Bonnie Harrington, John H. Kalbfleisch, John M. Amatruda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


Proximal and distal rat small intestine from control, diabetic, and insulin-treated diabetic rats was cut into strips measuring 6.0 × 10.0 mm. Strips cut along the oral-caudal axis were called longitudinal strips, while those cut 90 ° to that axis were called circular strips. The strips were stretched to their optimum lengths and subjected to electrical field stimulation (0.1-1.0-ms pulse duration, 30-270 mA, 1-26 Hz) in the presence of Krebs' solution and Krebs' solution plus 10-6 M atropine. Field stimulation produced atropine-sensitive and atropineresistant contractions in all strips. Significant differences among the three groups were found in the amplitudes of atropine-sensitive contractions in strips from distal longitudinal muscle. Controls showed the highest amplitude contractions and diabetics the lowest, whereas the insulin-treated diabetics showed contractions intermediate in amplitude. No significant differences were noted among the atropine-resistant contractions. Field stimulation delivered at pulse durations of 5.0 and 50.0 ms in the presence of neural blockade with tetrodotoxin (5 × 10-6 M) produced similar contraction amplitudes among the three groups. These results suggest that streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus is associated with defective cholinergic neuromuscular transmission in the myenteric plexus of the distal small intestine. Insulin therapy seems to improve the abnormality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-132
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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